Two penalties in the last five minutes by replacement flyhalf Marcel du Toit, gave Pukke a nailbiting 17-12 victory over College Rovers in the SAA National Club Champs final played at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on Saturday.
SuperRugby reports that the Potchefstroom students, playing in their fifth final in seven years, trailed 9-8 at half-time and for much of the second half it seemed as if the KZN champions would hold out in a match played in stifling heat.
But Pukke gradually fought their way back into the match and the appearance of Du Toit with ten minutes remaining, signalled a change in their fortunes. No sooner had he run on, he gave Pukke a 14-12 lead and then almost immediately afterwards extended the gap to five points with a second penalty goal.
In a tense final characterised by tight defence on from teams, Pukke scored the only try of the match, through fullback Warren Pietersen in the first half, while Rovers had flyhalf Andrew Borgen to thank for their points by way of four well-struck penalties.
Du Toit’s second kick in the dying moments sparked a frantic last-ditch effort from Rovers, who were seeking to reverse their 2006 final loss to the same opponents, but the Puk defence held firm to give the students their third title in five years.
Pukke – Try Warren Pietersen, penalties Devan Eckard (2), Marcel du Toit (2).
Rovers – Andrew Borgen (4) penalties
THE CURTAIN RAISER
Western Province’s SK Walmers retained their Plate title with a 97-19 victory over SWD champions Bridgton of Oudtshoorn.
The Bo-Kaap side scored eight tries and passed the half-century mark by half-time against brave but totally outmuscled opponents and then continued in the same vein after the break, although it must be said that Bridgton never gave up and their three tries were just reward for their efforts in this lopsided contest.
The Western Province Super League team picked up where they left off in the semifinal, where they hammered EP champions Despatch 80-0, with fullback Tanqai Nemadire finishing the tournament as the top try-scorer after picking up four in the final.
Flyhalf Adnaan Osman finished as the tournament’s top points scorer with 63, after scoring 30 points from two tries and ten conversions. Trailing 38-0, Bridgton finally got onto the scoresheet on the stroke of half-time with what was one of the tries of the tournament, right wing Hadley Arries benefiting from a precise cross-kick from broken play to score underneath the posts.
They scored a second after the break through centre Craig Booysen after yet more solid buildup work and slick hands, and Booysen then scored his second with eight minutes remaining to ensure the team from the Karoo emerged from the game with much credit.
But there can be no doubt that SK Walmers are among the best club teams in the country and while their participation in next year’s event is in no doubt, what is certain is that they would much prefer to win the overall title in 2009 than hunt a hat-trick of Plate trophies.
SK Walmers 97 – Tries: Tanqai Nemadire (4), Thabang Molefe (2), Zahier Rylands, Brent Stevens, Adnaan Osman (2), Raithaan Petersen (2), SP Blakeley, Cleopas Makatose, Shawn Petersen. Conversions: Adnaan Osman (10), SP Blakeley.
Bridgton 19 – Tries: Hadley Arries, Craig Booysen (2). Conversions: Brian Jonathan, Constant Fortuin.Tweet